The Benue State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has blasted George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, for visiting the state with “heavy security detail backed by military armour”.
Bemgba Iortyom, Benue PDP’s Publicity Secretary, described Akume’s action as “shameful and insensitive”.
The party, in a statement on Tuesday, stated that the minister, a former two-term governor of Benue, entered the state on Monday with heavy military escort to “give a fillip to his calls for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state on account of insecurity”.
The PDP said Akume’s mode of entry into the state is an indication that “his paymaster in Abuja” has failed to protect the lives and property of Benue residents.
“Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State frown at the entry into Makurdi yesterday by Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, George Akume, escorted by heavy security detail backed by military armour,” the statement reads.
“The action of the Minister is not only shameful and insensitive but raises a number of questions which include the following;
“What was the need for such heavy security cover escorting Akume into Benue where he is supposed to be at home having served previously for two terms as governor and three terms as Senator?
“Was this his manner of coming to Benue designed to give a fillip to his calls for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state on account of insecurity?
“Or was this martial mode of entry into Makurdi a reflection of the state of fear the Buhari Minister has foisted upon himself by his stand against the people of Benue in defence of his paymaster in Abuja who has failed on the constitutional duty to defend Benue lives and properties?
“Moreover, did the Buhari Minister spare even a moment to stop by at just one of the numerous camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to be found along the road from Abuja to Benue, which he travelled on?
“How much more could Akume be shameless in pursuit of his personal cum pecuniary interests in the shocking negation of the plight of his people, the very ones who through sweat, tears and blood vaunted him to the privileged position he occupies today?
“Benue PDP condemn as utterly insensitive the action by Akume to have rolled into Makurdi chaperoned by military armour, travelling across swathes of Benue land laid waste from herdsmen terror, as this reprehensible conduct amount to dancing on the graves of victims of herdsmen atrocities in Benue.”
Akume and current Benue governor, Samuel Ortom, have been at loggerheads.
Their rift began when Ortom accused President Muhammadu Buhari of trying to “Fulanise” the country, while reacting to the president’s approval of the recommendations of a committee to review 368 grazing reserves in 25 states.
The minister subsequently described Ortom’s comments as “unwarranted and ill-motivated”.
Ortom responded by suing the minister for libel, demanding N60 billion in damages.